Long Wharf Theater Announces Final ‘Three Acts’ at Long Wharf Docks in New Haven – Hartford Courant


When the Long Wharf Theater announced earlier this year that the company would be moving from the only physical home it has ever known, at 222 Sargent Dr. in New Haven, it didn’t offer many details.

On Wednesday, Long Wharf Artistic Director Jacob Padrón and General Manager Kit Ingui shared the theater’s current plans in more detail.

The announcement was well below the kind of seasonal announcements theaters typically make at this time of year. Instead, the Long Wharf – which had already prepared its subscribers for a year of rebuilding and transition as it left its longtime home on New Haven’s Long Wharf waterfront – reframed its upcoming season as encompassing “three acts”.

The three-act season will work like this: a farewell to the old space, a period of transition, and then a re-emergence in other spaces around New Haven.

A few titles, collaborators, and dates have been revealed, but equally important, the soon-to-be-traveling Long Wharf reaffirms new operating principles, goals, and missions.

The 2022-23 Long Wharf season is themed “Everywhere for Everyone” and involves Greater New Haven communities, according to the announcement, as well as select final events.

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Much of the lineup has yet to be announced, but several events are already in place:

  • Premiering virtually on August 3 and streaming on demand through August 6 are the third annual “Black Trans Women at the Center” readings of new short plays. This year’s playwrights include Andrea Jenkins, Bl3ssing Oshun Ra, Danielle Davis and Davia Spain. A round table follows the virtual readings.
  • An in-person reading of the Broadway musical “Jelly’s Last Jam,” Aug. 26-28, overseen by Long Wharf creative consultant Patricia McGregor and held at the Stetson Branch Library in New Haven’s Dixwell neighborhood. The musical, with book by George C. Wolfe, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead and musical arrangements by Luther Henderson, is based on the life and music of jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton. McGregor directed the show as part of her thesis project when she was at the Yale (now Geffen) School of Drama in 2009. A full production, complete with her direction, was planned for the Sargent Drive space before COVID from happening. This week, McGregor was named the new director of the New York Theater Workshop.
  • On September 22, at the Sargent Drive space, there is a presentation of the musical theater work “Dignity, Always Dignity”, by Zack Fine, Bryce Pinkham, Rona Siddiqui and Kirya Traber. The play is described as “stranded alone on an island, a former Broadway star sets out to perform one last show before the waters engulf her.” Pinkham, who starred on Broadway in the musicals “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “Ghost,” graduated from the Yale (Geffen) School of Drama in 2008.
  • “Act Two” of the three-act season includes a final event at 222 Sargent Dr., “Home (coming): A Community Parade”, directed by Jenny Koons, designed to give longtime supporters of Long Wharf a chance to say goodbye to the original form of the institution.
  • In the fall, there will be a New Haven Play Project virtual “multimedia production” titled “I AM: American/Muslim” by Aaliyah Miller and directed by Halima Flynn.
  • The third “act” of the 2022-23 season, in the spring of 2023, is “Live from the Edge” by New York theater company Universe, co-directed by company members Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz-Sapp. The universes will explore various neighborhoods of New Haven in order to determine the shape and location of the room.
  • Another spring 2023 event is a benefit reading of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” held at Southern Connecticut State University’s Lyman Center for the Performing Arts. The metaphorical drama about the Salem Witch Trial, which Miller wrote in reaction to the redbaiting and blacklisting of the 1940s and 1950s. “The Crucible” was the first play ever produced at Long Wharf, and the theater continued to have a long relationship with Miller (a resident of Roxbury), producing revivals of many of his plays and world premiering his “Broken Glass”. The “Crucible” reading will be directed by David Mendizábal of the Movement Theater Company in New York.
  • Also in the spring, Long Wharf (in partnership with Yale Repertory Theatre) will participate in the nationwide Next Narrative Monologue competition, where local high school students perform monologues by contemporary black playwrights. Two are selected to represent Connecticut in the main event of the competition in New York.
  • The Long Wharf also announced “Project 57,” where local artists will create a communal quilt to share memories of New Haven. Theater partners in the project include Artspace, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas and the New Haven Pride Center.

A few years ago, Long Wharf changed from a standard seasonal subscription model to a “membership” system where customers pay a monthly fee which entitles them to discounts on paid events, special offers and other opportunities. Members will have the first chance to purchase tickets for events in the 2022-23 season, which the theater says will go on sale “in the coming weeks.” More information on the theater website, longwharf.org.

“What we strive to manifest is groundbreaking theater that builds on our history of innovation and creative imagination,” Padrón said in a statement. “This kaleidoscopic season in three acts will bring our vision to life by showing what is possible when we center bold artistic works, foster meaningful partnerships, and build theater that reflects our entire community.”

As part of the announcement, the Long Wharf affirmed its commitment to providing “dynamic, fully staged productions of new and classic plays and musicals, although no full productions are on the announced schedule until ‘now. The theater will continue to commission new works and maintain its commissioning partnerships with the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the National Asian American Theater Company. The Long Wharf is also committed to continuing its various theatrical talk series and community outreach programs.

Long Wharf’s current offering, Madhuri Shekar’s “Queen,” remains the latest show to have a full multi-week run at 222 Sargent Dr. The play, presented in partnership with NAATCO, runs until June 5, then will move to the ART/New York Mezzanine Theater in New York, where it will run from June 10 to July 2.

The Long Wharf’s annual fundraising gala will take place on June 13.

Christopher Arnott can be reached at [email protected].

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